Breathing is one of those self-soothing practices that gets talked to death. However, I don’t often see specifics about how to use it properly. We can say, “Take deep breaths” all day, but what if it isn’t helping?
The part that gets overlooked is what to do while breathing. There are ways to count breaths, focus on the passage of air, and so on. One of my favorites takes about 3 breaths to work and help reduce stress and anxiety.
Place one hand over your heart and one over your belly (at or just above your belly button). Breathe in to a count of 5, then breathe out to a count of 5.
I don’t know what it is about this one that works better than just breathing, but this exercise just calms me down so fast it’s crazy. I think it’s because I can feel my heart beat becoming more steady and my body moving with the breaths. Whatever the underlying mechanism, this is a self-soothing practice I have used for ages, and with excellent effect.
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